One Piece (Summit War)

One Piece (Summit War)

One Piece anime series logo
One Piece Logo

Sabaody Archipelago

We’re back with another One Piece saga review, and today it’s time for the final saga in of the first half of the series, the Summit War saga. This saga begins with the Straw Hat Pirates reaching the Sabaody Archipelago, which is the last stop before crossing the Red Line and entering the so-called New World.

While the first half of the Grand Line is ruled by the Seven Warlords, the New World is the Four Emperors’ domain. The Four Emperors are Shanks, Whitebeard, Kaido, and Big Mom, though the latter two have only been mentioned as of the conclusion of this saga.

And, since the New World is such a dangerous place ruled by the most powerful pirates in the world, it should come as no surprise that just reaching it is extremely difficult. The Red Line is a giant mountain range that encircles the globe, and so is impossible to cross over by ship.

But, there is a way through. Below the Red Line is an underwater passage which connects the first half of the Grand Line to the New World. This is also where the Fishman Island is located. However, to get there, crews must first stop in Sabaody to have their ships coated in a special substance so they can withstand the pressure of submerging beneath the waves.

The man who is to coat the Thousand Sunny is none other than Dark King Rayleigh, former first mate of the Roger Pirates. Unfortunately for the Straw Hats, news of their landing, the landing of other big-shot rookies, and the reappearance of Rayleigh has made Sabaody a dangerous place.

After being attacked by Navy Admirals and a fleet of Kuma robots, the real Bartholomew Kuma comes to the rescue and scatters the Straw Hats around the world.

Amazon Lily

I’ll get to the locations of the other Straw Hat crew members towards the end of this post, but Luffy finds himself sent to the island of Amazon Lily, located in the middle of a calm belt. As the name implies, this island is home to an amazon women civilization in which no men are allowed.

This island is also home to the Kuja Pirates, led by Boa Hancock, one of the Seven Warlords. Hancock’s devil fruit power makes her irresistible to both men and women, and she can also turn anyone who falls for her to stone, which has led rumors to spread that she and her sisters are Gorgons.

But, this devil fruit power has absolutely no effect on Luffy, because although Hancock is beautiful, Luffy just doesn’t care about women in that way. And, as tends to be the trope, since Hancock can’t have Luffy, that just makes her want him more.

This arc of the saga felt a lot like filler because other than the alliance Luffy forges with Hancock, nothing of any importance happens. But, as I’ve mentioned in some of my Boruto episode reviews, just because an arc is essentially filler, doesn’t mean it’s skippable filler.

Hancock is a pretty important character for the rest of the saga, and I assume further on in the series, so Luffy’s first interaction with her isn’t something you should just skip over.

As for Hancock herself, I really like her character even though there isn’t that much to her. She basically has two modes, one in which she’s head-over-heels in love with Luffy, and one in which she’s talking down to every other man she sees as if they’re lower than ants. It’s the latter mode which amuses me greatly.

Impel Down

While on Amazon Lily, Luffy learns that his brother, Portgas D. Ace, has been captured by a pirate known as Blackbeard and is awaiting his execution in the underwater prison of Impel Down. With the help of Hancock, Luffy is able to break into the maximum security prison in an attempt to rescue his brother.

Although the Amazon Lily arc was basically filler, I felt that the Impel Down arc was the weak point of this saga. As with Amazon Lily and the next arc Marineford, the Impel Down arc focuses solely on Luffy, and not the rest of the Straw Hat crew who are scattered around the world.

This means that a bunch of other characters need to pick up the slack in their absence. Unfortunately, most of the characters chosen for this aren’t the best for making an action-packed arc. Mr. 3, Buggy the clown, and Mr. 2, “Bon-chan,” all reappear after being rescued by Luffy during his descent into the prison.

While I flat-out don’t like Mr. 3 as a character, I have to admit that Buggy is pretty good. However, Bon-chan is definitely the best of the three and I honestly wouldn’t mind having him around more often because out of all the side characters, he most fits in with the ideals of the Straw Hats.

Unfortunately for Luffy, he doesn’t make it to Ace before he’s moved out of the prison and to the Navy headquarters at Marineford for his public execution. Fortunately for just about everyone else in Impel Down, Luffy does rescue them.

Along with the three I mentioned previously (with the exception of Bon-chan who stays behind so that the others can escape), Luffy frees Emporio Ivankov of the Revolutionary Army, the former Warlords Jimbei and Crocodile, and many more.

Marineford

We then go from the worst arc in the saga to the main event, the war at Marineford. Due to Ace’s public execution, the Navy has gathered all of their Admirals, Vice Admirals, and most of the Warlords all on Marineford to make sure the execution goes on without an issue.

The reason for so many big names gathering in one place is because Whitebeard of the Four Emperors won’t allow one of his men to be executed no matter what. For reference, Whitebeard is considered the strongest pirate alive, and used to go up against Gol D. Roger back in the day.

Portgas D. Ace from the One Piece anime series
Portgas D. Ace

Along with Whitebeard and his massive army of allied pirates showing up at Marineford, Luffy and his rag-tag bunch of Impel Down escapees show up to free Ace as well. While the events of the Sabaody Archipelago showed us just how weak the Straw Hats really are, the events of Marineford show us just how strong the Four Emperors and Navy are.

During the war, Whitebeard is killed by a combination of a traitor, Admiral Akainu, and Blackbeard. Blackbeard then is able to steal Whitebeard’s Earthquake devil fruit power, making him the first person we’ve seen to wield two (he already has his darkness power).

Then, even though Ace was rescued, he turns back to fight against Akainu once more because he insulted Whitebeard.

Even though Ace has a fire logia-type devil fruit, Akainu’s magma logia-type devil fruit is stronger and can actually hurt him. Despite this, Ace probably could have put up a good fight if it weren’t for Akainu targeting Luffy instead. In the end, Ace sacrifices his own life to save his younger brother, who it was revealed he actually has no blood relation to.

Post-War

So, the Impel Down and Marineford arcs were a bust because Ace died in the end anyway. Clearly this hasn’t been a good saga for Luffy, but what about the rest of his crew?

  • Zoro was sent to an abandoned island and finds the ghost girl from Thriller bark there. This also turns out to be the home of the Warlord Hawk-Eye Mihawk.
  • Usopp flew to the Bowin Islands which are essentially just giant, carnivorous plants disguising themselves as islands. Here he finds a man who goes by the name of Heracles who dresses as a beetle.
  • Nami finds herself on a sky island called Weatheria. All the inhabitants of this island are dressed like wizards (or the scholars from the 1902 film A Trip to the Moon, watch it, it’s good) and study weather around the world.
  • Sanji wakes up on the shores of the Kamabakka Kingdom, which is an island of cross-dressing men. Emporio Ivankov of the Revolutionary army is the queen of this Kingdom.
  • Chopper lands on a giant tree island where large birds rule the upper branches and “uncivilized” humans live in fear below them. This island is also home to many medicinal plants.
  • Brook made his way to an island where the villagers were attempting to summon Satan and so believe that to be who he is. He’s then captured by a group of people who have two joints per arm and paraded around in a freak show.
  • Franky arrives on a Winter island which houses the esteemed Dr. Vegapunk’s abandoned laboratory. This is the same scientist who builds weapons for the Navy, including the Kuma robots.
  • Robin is the only one who doesn’t land on an island, and instead lands on a giant bridge which is being built between islands by enslaved workers.

Conclusion

At the end of the Sabaody Archipelago arc, Luffy tells his crew to regroup at the ship in 3-days time. However, they all know that this is no longer possible after being scattered around the world by Kuma. So, after the war at Marineford, Luffy sends a message out to his crew to change the date of their reunification.

Rather than meeting up in three days, which has already passed, the crew are to meet up in two years. Each member of the Straw Hats takes these two years to train on their respective islands where they were sent, and the next time we’ll see them is after the time skip.

As with the previous saga, I think the Summit War saga is a 7/10 overall. Yes, it had its slow parts, but I have to say that this series just gets better and better the longer it goes on. I do wish that we actually got some fights with good choreography, but maybe that’ll happen eventually.

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My review of the next saga is available here.

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